Baltimore, Md. – Associate Professor Robin Newhouse, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to enhance the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s (UMSON) Doctor of Nursing Practice program in ways that will benefit executive nurse leaders and the communities where they live and work.
One enhancement of Newhouse’s project, “Enhancing the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program to Improve Healthcare for Underserved Populations of Maryland,” will be the addition of new electives specific for DNP students that are nurse executive, chief nurse officer, and director of nursing levels.
“The University of Maryland is one of the top universities in terms of educating nurse administrators, and this is another step forward in leadership in this area,” says Newhouse, chair of the UMSON Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health.
UMSON will add targeted electives for nurse executives that are expected to fulfill their specific learning needs. The need for the grant was based on the results of a market survey of nurse leaders in parts of the state with rural and underserved populations. The potential DNP candidates work in nursing administration positions and are interested in obtaining the DNP degree.
By raising the number of DNP graduates who are well prepared, ethnically diverse, and culturally sensitive, the project is expected to increase quality and safety by strengthening health care systems and supporting evidence-based practices. These are nursing practices that research has shown to be most effective. Another goal is to reduce health disparities in the state by improving access to quality care among minorities and disadvantaged populations in urban and rural areas.
The DNP program will enhance cultural competency in its curriculum, recruit and hire faculty and staff from ethnic minorities to support program objectives, expand enrollment diversity, and add suitable clinical practicum sites. “We have a very diverse population in the DNP program, but we can always do better,” says Newhouse.
The directed electives will be offered in the fall 2012 term to DNP students who have begun what is typically a three-year course of study. UNSOM graduated 15 nurses with DNP degrees in 2011, bringing the total to 48 graduates. The DNP program has 78 students enrolled in the fall 2011 term.
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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked eleventh nationally. Enrolling more than 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.